Saturday, 9 June 2012

Almost Galloping at Grasmere

What better way to recover from a huge road ultra, than to enjoy running on the Lake District trails with your clubmates?
This weekend’s Grasmere Gallop was the first of the club’s Grand Prix races that I’d taken part in, due to having the dreaded PF earlier in the year. I had enjoyed the run a week later last year, but this year was less than a week after Comrades….eek!
It is a nice walk through the village to the start behind a piper, checking out pubs and cafes for future visits. A nice low-key run like this with mates is great as there’s always banter at the start, eyeing up others…and certain types of running gear, and deciding who our targets were. I couldn’t run too hard, with a big race just behind me, and an important one coming up the following weekend, but I just had to make sure I came back as first lady for the club for the GP points.
We started off climbing steadily up hill on road, and then were led off onto the trail proper. This part of the run became very scenic as we kept high above both Grasmere and Rydal Water before winding down on slippery shale to the lakeside path. The big decision of the course is usually whether to climb over rocks by the shore or dash through the water. Last year the water was shallow and I made up a place or two by opting for that route. I had no option this year as a marshal and a runner were blocking the rocky path, but the water was much deeper so it was a definite slow thigh-deep wade. At least it meant that afterwards I had no worries about running through streams, while others were still trying to keep their feet dry.

Round the carpark towards the cakes!

We climbed up away from the water and then descended to the next beach, but this time we could stay dry along the shore. As we got back up to the road where we’d left it, we started passing people who were out for the shorter race option which led to nice shouts of encouragement. I had not seen any other ladies so knew I could relax down the hill again and enjoy the run through the village and round the carpark into the finish where the cakes were waiting.
It was a lovely race and well-marshalled, with lots of tasty cakes free for runners at the end, but yet again I missed seeing the famous “caves” en route…..and I was surprised to see myself in the results not as 1st lady, but as the 2nd V50male, but then again another clubmate Doug (who is a V50man) was recorded as an 11yr old girl!!!

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